Assisted suicide campaigners set sights on Scotland
22 August 2018
Scotland has a proud history of standing up for the most vulnerable in society.
Assisted suicide campaigners are targeting Scotland, claiming the situation is "abhorrent".
Under British law, assisted suicide is the act of deliberately assisting or encouraging another person to kill themselves. It is not to be confused with the discontinuing of medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, or disproportionate to the expected outcome. The latter is legal under British law.
Assisted suicide is currently illegal in the UK, including in Scotland, where it is a devolved matter for the Scottish Parliament.
Voted out of Parliament
Over the past decade, Scotland's parliament has voted down two attempts to legalise assisted suicide: 85 to 16 in 2010, and 82 to 36 in 2015. The UK Parliament has similarly rejected, by large margins, assisted suicide in 2015 (the Marris Bill) and 2014 (the Falconer Bill).
Now, highly organised and well-funded campaigners are committed to bringing about a change in the law. The Cross-Party Group on End of Life Choices was established in the Scottish Parliament in 2017, and is "intended to focus on one particular issue – assisted dying".
Protection from killing is "abhorrent"?
Speaking at a conference on "end of life choices" campaigners in Edinburgh, Adrian Ward, an assisted suicide activist who has claimed that Scottish law creates an "abhorrent" situation, told his audience that because assisting a suicide may lead to prosecution, people with degenerative conditions could feel under pressure to act themselves before they became physically incapable.
SPUC Scotland's Director of Communications Michael Robinson said, "Scotland has a proud history of standing up for the most vulnerable in society and we know from experience that when countries introduce assisted suicide that it is always the most vulnerable members who are targeted. Indeed, data shows us that where assisted suicide and/or euthanasia is permitted we have seen an ever-widening scope of people being allowed and encouraged to end their lives and indeed, appalling numbers of people killed non-voluntarily, both the elderly and children."
When euthanasia was introduced in Belgium in 2002, despite the reassurances given regarding strict legal conditions the country has witnessed non-voluntary euthanasia on an unprecedented scale and for an ever-widening range of reasons including for people with arthritis or depression among other things.
Mr. Robinson concluded, with regard to the UK: "Pro-death campaigners must respect the outcome of two conclusive votes on this matter in the last eight years."
Genuine palliative care threatened
Assisted suicide endorses a culture where some lives are deemed more valuable than others.
Indeed, calls to improve palliative care instead of offering euthanasia and assisted suicide may now be met with a response that redefines "palliative care" in order to accommodate assisted suicide.
Writing for pro-life American Life League, Dr Elizabeth Wickham warns readers in the USA: "Unfortunately, because of the movement [to re-define palliative care]...it is fair to say that palliative care, in its true beauty, is now at considerable risk!"
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